Dinner chez Bisty with many good wines and a high proportion of bubbles, some “Bisty wines” and some BYOs from me and another guest. Served blind, although sometimes there had been a few clues. Right over to the wines!
Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs NV
Champagne. 100% Chardonnay. Magnum bottle, purchased from the producer mid-2009.
Bright yellow colour. In the nose mineral, yellow and green apple, citrus, some peach, a hint of wild strawberries, some flowery notes. Some biscuity notes appear with higher temperature. On the palate medium bodied, high acidity, clearly mineral, mature citrus fruit, yellow and some green apple. 89-90 p.
My guess when I had it served blind was a Blanc de Blancs, a rather young vintage version such as 2002, possibly with some barrel notes.
Impressive quality for a non-vintage, but on the other hand Diebolt-Vallois is a very good producer, and it came from a magnum bottle with extra cellaring. It kept its elegance when it got warmer, which impressed on me, and was duly noted in the scoring.
Gérard Boulay Clos de Beaujou Sancerre 2007
Loire. Grape variety: Sauvignon Blanc.
Light yellow colour. Citrus, mineral, slightly flowery notes. With temperature some oak notes start appearing. High acidity, medium bodied, citrus (grapefruit), quite fruity impression on the palate. With temperature it appears a little more oily. 88-89 p.
This wine was served quite cold, and my first guess was Riesling and I was thinking about Mosel. Not very close, but I didn’t find any of the green notes that Sauvignon Blanc typically shows.
Henry Natter Sancerre 2009
Loire. Grape variety: Sauvignon Blanc.
In the nose mineral, apple. On the palate quite dry, some bitterness, a hint of alcohol, citrus, apple. 86-87 p.
This wine had been used to cook the mussels that were served with the previous wine, and a small serving of it appeared as an extra wine, to make guessing easier. Both wines were from the same region, we were told. This wine was also served very cold. On its own hand, in this cold state, it simply as a dry white wine in a typical cold climate style, but on my palate very difficult to nail down to a particular grape variety or region. It was too dry in its appearance to be a Mosel Riesling, though. In combination with the previous wine, I considered Alsace for a while – the style of e.g. Trimbach can be quite dry. When the previous wine started to show a little oak it struck me – completely erroneously – what it “had” to be: Chablis, of course! This would make the previous wine a discretely oaked premier cru that had become more fruity by being cellared for a few years, and the cooking wine a simpler Chablis/Petit Chablis. Quite poor performance of me not to locate it in the right place even when I had two wines to work from. OK, I have noticed that Sancerre can become a little Chablis-like with maturity, but that wasn’t the explanation this time.
La Spinetta Vigneto Gallina Barbaresco 1999
Piemonte. Grape variety: Nebbiolo.
Medium red colour, no quite clear (due to a disintegrated cork, see below). Slightly developed nose of cranberries, cherries and other red berries, slightly flowery, with oak and some chocolate. Full bodied, good concentration, some alcoholic bite, high acidity, quite some tannin, acidic and tannic aftertaste. 91-92 p.
The tannins could probably get slightly more tamed and nuanced with another couple of years of cellaring, but I’m not entirely sure that the wine would improve overall. The effects of age are said to be difficult to assess in modernist-style Barolo/Barbaresco. I brought this wine, so I didn’t have to guess what it was.
The cork looked quite OK from above, but wasn’t possibly to extract in one piece, because it disintegrated when I attacked it with a corkscrew. It was dried rather than murky, because the colour was quite fresh, and it had kept a tight seal with no signs of leakage, so I don’t think this had affected the wine. A “blade opener” had been a good tool to pry it loose, but none was at hand. Instead, there was a lot of cork crumbles, so I had to use a sieve, but some of the smaller particles were smaller than the grid size.
Ojai Roll Ranch Syrah Lot E.H. 1998
Deep red colour. Slightly sweetish nose of blackberries and other dark berries, violets, slightly flowery, some oak, a hint of barnyard aromas, quite powerful aroma concentration, mineral, elegant nose. Full bodied, quite concentrated on the palate, dark and red berries, mineral notes in combination with mint, balanced acidity, some alcohol, substantial but well embedded tannin. 94-95 p.
A wine with “extra everything” in true Californian style, but one that balances all it has in a very good way, and that shows great elegance. Has probably peaked (or could possibly improve a little further with more developed notes), but will likely stay at this level for quite some time (10 years or more?) given its phenomenal concentration. I have tried it once before, in 2009, and this time it was better although it impressed that time as well. I brought this wine, so it was not blind tasted by me.
This wine is a special lot wine that has been produced in a few vintages, and then bottled in another shaped bottle with another label than the regular Roll Ranch Syrah.
Dom Ruinart 1996
Champagne. 100% Chardonnay.
Medium yellow colour, no bubbles. Nutty, biscuity nose, a good one. Good acidity (but not really high), yellow apples and winter apples, biscuity, nutty. 91-92 p.
Appears 20+ years old in the aromas, but looks younger in colour. Guessed a 1995 to come up with something in-between young and 20+. Well, perhaps Henriot 1995 to make a random guess as to house.
There was rumours in advance that Dom Ruinart 1996 would make an appearance during the evening. “It can’t be this one”, said Mr. Bisty himself, and he’s the local Champagne nose #1. Must be a weird bottle, or perhaps specifically a weird cork, since it has lost its mousse. Not bad at all, on the contrary, but not in the expected style. It neither gave an impression of being a blanc de blancs or a 1996, and it is quite unexpected that it should have lost basically all the mousse at this moderate age (for a wine that’s shipped with rather many years). Also much more developed aromas than expected, which could be due to lost carbon dioxide, but I had expected a more yellow or darker colour if there really had been oxygen leakage into the bottle.
Borgoluce Valdobbiadene Brut
Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Veneto. Grape variety: Glera (formerly known as Prosecco).
Light yellow colour. Flowery, perfumed nose, notes of apple. Rather simple nose. On the palate good acidity, green apple, rather simple in style. 84-85 p.
Guessed that it was a Crémant de Loire. Other, completely correct guesses saying Prosecco were heard.
Malard Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs NV
Champagne. 100% Pinot Noir. Bought at Nicolas.
Yellow colour. Slightly bready, developed nose, mineral, winter apple. Medium bodied, slightly biscuity also on the palate, good acidity, developed aromas with winter apples. 90-91 p.
Guessed it was a blended Champagne, and thought it would be a vintage 2000. Another thought at least 75% Pinot Noir (i.e., more than Bollinger), and that turned out to be right. Good already with developed notes, but could probably gain from some additional cellaring.
In the beginning of the evening we were also joined by Batman and Darth Vader. However, it must have been an exhausting working day for superheroes and super villains – perhaps they keep each other busy – because later in the evening they were no longer awake. By the way, has anyone seen Darth Vader drink? Judging from his heavy breathing, that mask can’t have particularly large openings in it. Despite this, the video below indicates that he does know how to open a bottle with some style. It would have been quite helpful to get this type of assistance with the La Spinetta bottle.
The Swedish version of this post can be found here.